Cold Hands and Feet (cont.)
Cold Hands & Feet Symptoms
- Frostbite and frostnip
- Frostbitten body parts are white and hard or waxy. They may be white-purple or white-yellow.
- Frostnipped parts are white but not hard and are generally very small areas.
- Frozen parts have no feeling.
- During the freezing process, they may tingle or feel like a block of wood.
- Once frostbitten areas thaw, they may be painless or tingle.
- When they are rapidly rewarmed in warm water by the recommended method, they may be painful.
- Over the next few days, the part is often painful and swollen.
- Blisters may appear, and severely affected areas turn black.
- Immersion injury
- Areas affected by immersion injury are first red and then turn pale and swollen.
- Numbness or painful tingling may occur.
- After the first few days, the part becomes very red, tingling, swollen, and may have blisters, skin breakdown, or even liquefy.
- Pernio is a rash on the lower legs, feet, toes, hands, or ears that may be red or blue and may form scaly areas or lumps.
- Rarely, affected parts may bleed, blister, or have skin breakdown.
- Often pernio causes itching and burning.
- Raynaud's phenomenon refers to constriction of the blood vessels of the hands or feet in response to cold exposure. Raynaud's phenomenon causes white, then blue, then red-colored fingertips and toes and is often painful.
- Cryoglobulins cause a wide array of symptoms, depending on whether or not internal organs are involved, including deep-blue fingertips.
- Cold urticaria refers to raised red bumps or hives produced in response to cold exposure.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/26/2015
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